Traditional Vs. Commercial for home and restaurants
Hi, let me share something interesting you guys might want to consider when putting up a food establishment. I have been in the food industry for a decade and a half now and I have been so used to cooking with different types of ovens. I won’t claim to be an expert on this though I’m quite sure about the fact that it’s always best to go traditional!
Currently, I’m operating five Italian Restaurants, two of which are powered by a standard 1.40 mtr. sized traditional brick oven and the rest with a typical commercial precast wood fired oven. It had been a challenge dealing with consistency issues since using substandard equipments. Though if there’s one thing I am sure of, it is that I achieve better food quality with my traditional oven.
There are a number of factors I would regard as key to this claim, one is that I use less wood to fire up my traditional ovens and even lesser wood to maintain the temperature considering the same exhaust rate. I guess this could be attributable to the materials being used for the hearth and dome. I feel that a solid fire brick retains heat longer than ordinary refractory slabs typically used in commercial wood fired ovens. Aside from this, instead of using more bricks as insulation, contractors use sand as cheap alternative. This eliminates stability and heat retention properties as compared to using a more suitable material like fire bricks and clay. I’ve had the chance to see handcrafted brick ovens and I have got to tell you that these ovens do last a lifetime. Take for instance this brick oven servicing Shangri la Mactan, Cebu, which had been built 16 years ago. The only thing old about it was the antique look it had gained through accumulated years of service. Everything is still the way it was 16 years ago. I would even consider that as a positive remark since adding a homey and rustic feel to the already cozy ambiance of the resto. The traditional ovens I use are newly built though I would expect that they’d last a lifetime. The commercial ovens I have been using on the contrary are waiting to be refurbished. The floors are pitted and uneven. Some of the slabs had sunk probably due to the sand base that the contractor used. I have one that’s relatively new but just like the rest of them, floors are uneven and pitted, air and floor temperature does not get along most of the time and consumes firewood twice as much.
If I would describe the quality of pizza my traditional oven brings out, I would have to say that it effectively bakes the crust giving it that distinct light and crisp finish it shows whenever I sum up the comments gathered from the guests. I have never achieved this with the commercial ovens I use. I would normally get what appears to be an overcooked pizza with a soggy crust, aside from the usual irregularly shaped crust that sticks to the floor resulting from an uneven air and floor temperature.
We nowadays, with all the technological advancements being made, tend to lean towards practicality and convenience as a means to achieve something that we forget the basics. Few realize the passion, beauty and simplicity of “artisan”. I was once like the rest of us, but having had stopped and smelt the flowers I came to realize that traditions should never be forgotten. Remember you roots! Ciao tutti!
P.S. – I’ve been dreaming of soon being able to build myself the best brick oven in the Philippines. I have a couple of plans laid out already, but with your help I could build the best. Hoping for your most favorable reply.
Article for plans exchange.
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